Truing Checking that adjoining pattern pieces match and any curve that continues from one piece to the next needs to be a smooth curve. When making Blocks or Patterns, the adjoining pieces need to be checked against each other; lines that are sewn together need to be the same length, such as side seams and […]


Toile A garment made from an inexpensive fabric such as muslin or calico, usually without seam finishes, facings or closures, for the sole purpose of fitting. As different patterns react differently to different fabrics, toiles are not always made from calico or muslin.  The general rule is that the toile should be made of a […]

Stitching Line

Stitching Line The line where the fabric pieces will be stitched together. When matching up pattern pieces or making pattern adjustments, it is essential to match or adjust the stitching line, not the cutting edge. The stitching line is usually 0.5 to 1.5cm from the cut edge.  In Commercial Patterns, it is usually a standard […]


Selvedge The outside finished edges, parallel to the lengthwise grain of a woven fabric. (See also lengthwise grain, crosswise grain and bias.) Example Image 1 The red arrows show the selvedges of a length of fabric.

Seam Allowance

Seam Allowance The area between the stitching line and the raw edge of the fabric.  This seam allowance allows two pieces of fabric to be sewn together without reducing the wearing size of the garment. Blocks usually do not have seam allowance.  The seam allowance is added after the pattern is made. How much is […]


Seam The joining of two or more pieces of fabric by sewing through both pieces. There are a number of ways to construct and finish seams. Examples Image 1 These pattern pieces will be sewn together along the Cent re Back line (green dashed line), creating a seam. The shaded pink area will be the […]

Princess Line

Princess Line A dress or top with a seam-line that runs from the armhole to the hem, or the shoulder and the hem, where the bust and waist darts are incorporated into this seam. Examples Image 1 The  Extended Line Dress Block front and back with the princess line drawn through the armhole.  The side […]

Balance Points

Balance Points Balance points are marks and notches that help align adjoining pattern pieces when constructing a garment. Example Image 1 In this image there are notch points in (1) the Bodice Back side seam and in (2) the shoulder front. Image 2 The side seam notch is a balance point that will line up […]


Balance Balance refers to the “hang” of the garment.  If a garment is balanced, it will hang straight, rather than twisting or having folds. When creating patterns you need to do the following to make sure your pattern will be balanced: correctly mark the pattern grain on the pattern pieces use notches as balance points […]

Torso Block

Torso Block A Bodice Block that extends down to the hip rather than finishing at the waist. A Torso Block can be used to make shirts and tops. Example Image 1 A Torso Block – Front & Back.  The Bodice Block has been extended to the hip. Click here for Instructions on how to make […]